The black sea devil, a deep-sea anglerfish, was filmed for possibly the first time on November 17 off the coast of California. Just watch this thing. If it were larger than, uh, 3.5 inches, it would be a magnificent monster.
Scientists were able to use a remotely operated vehicle to bring this specimen to the surface alive, an effort National Geographic calls "no mean feat." After hauling it up from 1900 feet, they're now monitoring the mini-beast in a specially designed tank that looks like a walk-in fridge. They hope to determine whether or not the anglerfish can detect electromagnetic fields like sharks can, saying it's probable because the things can't see very well.
From Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute Senior Scientist Bruce Robison:
This is the first time we've captured this fish on video in its habitat. Anglerfish, like this Melanocetus, are among the most rarely seen of all deep-sea fishes. The shining spot at the tip of the 'fishing pole' projecting from the fish's head is a glowing lure. The anglerfish uses its light to attract prey in its deep, dark habitat.
Little else is known about the species other than that the males are parasites. A male seeks out a female, "bites on, and their tissues fuse." Then he provides sperm while the female sustains him. Just like humans! This one barfed up a black dragonfish and "what looked like a deep-sea smelt" after they dumped her in the walk-in fridge tank. Good luck, little Melanocetus.